The Significance of Sleep for Students

Michael Muon, Staff writer

College students are one of the most sleep-deprived populations. Statistics show that 18 percent of college men and 30 percent of college women report having suffered from insomnia in the past three months. Sleep is important and if you break it down physiologically it is a process with several distinct phases. During these phases, different physiological processes take place such as restoring the energy an individual expends during the day. The brain is also actively working while an individual sleeps to create new pathways for areas such as learning, memories and new insights. For college students this is vital to their learning abilities.

On average, most adults need eight hours of restful sleep per night. The best way to determine the right amount of sleep for a college student is to spend one week waking up naturally without an alarm clock. At the end of the week, average the amount of sleep received each night to find out the amount you need.

Regular and restful sleep is essential for good health. Sleep helps you feel less stressed and even helps you to maintain a healthy diet.  College students often lead busy and stressful lives. Everyday activities such as going to class, working out or working on a computer can strain your mind and body.  Sleep deprivation can affect important aspects of your mind and body such as mood, energy, ability to learn, memory, good judgment, reaction time and efficiency.

Senior Amanda Nardozzi is currently satisfied with her sleep schedule during school but she says that she won’t be later on in the semester when things start get to get busier.

“I try to get about 6-7 hours of sleep on school nights,” she said. “I definitely wish I had more because then I would have more energy in the morning to wake up and go through the day.”

Nardozzi also says that there are things that prevent her from sleeping.

“Either homework or TV is usually distracting me from getting more sleep,” she said. “And sometimes if I’m up late writing a paper, I won’t spend too much time reviewing it just because I’m more focused on getting sleep for the night.”

Dain Heath, a senior, said he wishes he got more sleep every night.

“Sleep leads to the consolidation of memory and what accounts for a percentage of learning” he said.

This supports the theory that sleep affects a student’s ability to learn. Heath claims that copious amounts of homework, his cell phone and television are preventing him to get a good amount of sleep.

Assistant Professor of Health Studies Mary Siniscarco certainly believes that there is a correlation between sleep and a student’s academic performance in class.

“A good night’s sleep and a well-nourished, hydrated brain and body is required to achieve maximal mental focus and alertness,” she said.

Siniscarco also advises students to stay mentally alert and that staying hydrated will help.

“A large percentage of the brain is comprised of water, approximately 73 percent.  So, stay hydrated!” Siniscarco said. “Also, proper sleep is important.  For young adults 18-25 years of age, seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended.”

Some factual tips for a good night’s sleep are to limit caffeine, avoid naps during the day, and to not rely on the weekends to catch up on schoolwork. This means practicing time management with school work, minimizing school disruptions, and avoiding all-nighters.